Yet another example of Jay McRoy's attempt to scam the voters | Eastern North Carolina Now

    Publisher's Note: This article originally appeared in the Beaufort Observer.

    There's been a rousing debate in recent months in Beaufort County about just what the county's role (as well as the City of Washington's) should be in economic growth and development. One of the, if not THE point players in the economic development program has been Jay McRoy. At the same time it has become a matter of documented fact that Beaufort County has received essentially no significant return on investment for the more than ten million dollars we've spent on "economic development" over the last decade. In fact, as Warren Smith has documented, more benefit has accrued to Craven County than to Beaufort County from the nearly one million paid to the Director of Economic Development who never found it worth moving to the county that was paying him a six-figure salary every year, plus over $20,000 a year in "travel expenses."

    So it was not surprising that the good folks at the WDN chose to ask all of the county commissioner candidates at the October 16, 2012 Candidates' Forum what they though the county's strategy should be.

    Jay McRoy defended the failed program. But unlike most of the arguments given in the past, Mr. McRoy chose not to try to defend the biggest part of that strategy...industrial parks. He chose, instead, to point to a condominium project in Belhaven that he said the county spent $60,000 on to grow the tax base by $12 million.

    Now we find it extremely interesting that he chose to go back eight years to find an example to use. But even then, he selected a fool's folly to trumpet. Jim Bispo, the author of our D'ya Think column wrote a letter to the editor back in 2004, before he began writing D'ya Think in which he pointed out the foolishness of the project Mr. McRoy chose to highlight to defend his argument that we just have to provide corporate welfare to get developer's and businesses to do business in Beaufort County. There's a link at the end of this article to Jim's piece.

    In choosing this project Mr. McRoy revealed his ignorance, or worse--his dishonesty--about economic development. Here's why.
The Jay McRoy Conundrum: Above.     photo by Stan Deatherage

    As Jim points out, the $60K Mr. McRoy touted did not cause this project to happen. It would have happened without the county subsidizing the developer. Mr. McRoy cannot prove otherwise. What actually happened is that the developer snookered Mr. McRoy and his cronies on the Economic Development Commission and the Committee of 100. It's just that simple.

    But this rationale Mr. McRoy gives for why the county should give away money to "selected" businesses is one of the oldest fallacies known to man: Coincidence does not causation make. Just because something happens after something else does not mean that the first something caused the latter something. It even has a name in Latin: Post hoc ergo propter hoc.

    Mark Twain pointed this fallacy out in the words of Huck Finn:

    I've always reckoned that looking at the new moon over your left shoulder is one of the carelessest and foolishest things a body can do. Old Hank Bunker done it once, and bragged about it; and in less than two years he got drunk and fell off of the shot tower and spread himself out so that he was just a kind of layer, as you may say; and they slid him edgeways between two barn doors for a coffin, and buried him so, so they say, but I didn't see it. Pap told me. But anyway, it all come of looking at the moon that way, like a fool.
So either Mr. McRoy is not sharp enough to figure out that he just gave away $60,000 of tax payer money, getting nothing in return that we would not have gotten anyway, or he is trying to pull the wool over the voters' eyes. But the worst of Mr. McRoy's abuse of the public is that he apparently believes we are so stupid as to not see his ruse.

    There's much more to the story about this project than this, but suffice it to say here that unless Mr. McRoy can back up his claim and show us that the $12 million project would not have happened without the $60,000 subsidy then we will assert that this perfectly illustrates why Mr. McRoy and his cronies have made such bad decisions with other people's money under the guise of calling it "economic development."

   Click here to read Jim's 2004 piece.
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The importance of those Council of State races Editorials, Beaufort Observer, Op-Ed & Politics, Bloodless Warfare: Politics Conservative Effectiveness of Legislators Published in Civitas Capitol Connection September, 2012


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